The idea for this release came about when we started discussing plans for the 2023 edition of Soul Time in Tokyo.
Back in 2018, we collaborated with Jun Saito, bandleader of the Tokyo-based group YOUR SONG IS GOOD, on a 12-inch release featuring their band and a local Hawaii singer, Nick Kurosawa. The idea then was to cover a "classic" Hawaii rare groove release — and what came to mind first was Babadu, one of the holy grails of Hawaiian soul. The resulting 12-inch sold quickly. It featured a vocal version with Nick Kurosawa, and an instrumental version with Tokyo's VIDEOTAPEMUSIC, as well as a previously recorded YSIG cut called "Cruise".
So, five years on in 2023 — the first proper STIT party post-pandemic — we floated the idea of how to follow up with a release that feels just as special.
Since that 12-inch release in 2018, we've had the pleasure of getting to know singer Joelene Manuel, who featured on a track alongside Nick Kurosawa with producer FRNT BZNZZ. That tune, "Was It Love?", solidified in our minds (and hearts) that Joelene not only could sing with a purity of soul and love, but that she's a joy to work with. The time in the studio was productive, fun, and full of excitement to create something special.
Once we'd decided that "You're Young" would be our track of choice for this sophomore collab release, we reached out to Joelene to see if she'd be interested; of course, she was! Things moved quickly then — YSIG soon arranged and recorded the music in Tokyo, and in matter of weeks sent a finished song to us in Honolulu. Shortly after, Joelene jumped in the "studio" (really, our record shop with some impromptu acoustic modifications) and laid down the vocals in less than an hour. The process, and the results, felt like magic.
Listen and purchase online now: https://alohagotsoul.com/products/your-song-is-good-youre-young-feat-joelene-ags-080-kaku-187
Our second collaborative release with YOUR SONG IS GOOD and Tokyo-based indie label Kakubarhythm. This time we’ve teamed up to create a modern day version of “You’re Young” featuring Oahu-based vocalist Joelene Manuel.
The soulful interpretation brings together the finesse and fun of Jun "JxJx" Saito's arrangements and the powerful yet sweet voice of Joelene.
The result might be called ‘Pacific Lovers Rock’. It’s a mellow, entrancing tune that gently sways while Joelene’s voice soothes. A beautiful tribute to a beautiful song, which was originally composed and performed by Mackey Feary.
Vocal: Joelene Manuel
Piano, Electric Piano, Organ, Horn Arrangment: Jun Saito
Guitar: Masatomo Yoshizawa
Bass: Hiroyuki Takada
Drums: Wataru Mitsunaga
Percussion: Izumi Matsui
Trombone: Yasuhiko Hattori
Tenor Sax, Horn Arrangment: Yoshihiro Goseki
“You’re Young” written by Mackey Feary
All Songs Mixed by Ryoji Yanagida
All Songs Mastered by Isao Kumano
Project coordination by Roger Bong, Jun Saito, and Rui Fujita
Photo by Roger Bong
Designed by Roger Bong, Jun Saito, and Kaho Hagiwara
A Special Mahalo to Sebastian Feary and Mackey Feary Band.